Vienna, Austria (05.17.2006 – 05.19.2006)

I admit, Vienna left me a little cold to begin with, especially compared to the warmth of Budapest. This all started at the tourist information desks at the Westbanhhof where the attendants didn't want to talk to me, speak English, or help in any way at all. So the stereotype of the gruff and aloof Austrian certainly holds true with Bahnhof clerks and tourist info employees. Everything changed once I got into the city. Wow. Vienna doesn't have the vistas of Budapest and the river doesn't really figure into the plan of the Inner Stadt (at least not anymore) but the architecture is *amazing*. The Innere Stadt has an incredibly refined and elegant feel, just oozing history. Easy to squander a few days here just hanging out in the stellar sidewalk cafes along Graben. The Kaffeehauses throughout the city are unparalleled. I've finally realized why I like these cities so much. They are the urban equivalent of western canyon country. With the luminant light, organic feel, they both have a human scale (for cities, street level) and an incomprehensible vastnes (the millions of ledges on a single facet of a canyon, the many windows, doors, and alleyways criss-crossing and intersecting).